Photo by: Kevin Arrieta. VACO Studio
Trauma Sensitive Youth?
It continuously shocks me how often adults act like our youth don’t need us. So many adults don’t focus on youth in the ways they need them most. How often do thoughts about their sensitivities come into play? There is so much effort put toward “channeling” their energy and less focused on healing them. This mistake is perpetuated through single family homes all the way through organizations that service them.
I am speaking not only as a former foster child, but also a someone who works in these spaces. Wondering...
When will we switch it up?
Yes, having an after school program to harbor them until their parents get home is useful. Yes, teaching them the arts, technology and sciences can assist them in exploring options they never knew they had, but how important is career readiness sans coping skills? Why are underpaid teachers and mentors left with the task to make the impact while everyone else makes the money. Some nonprofits organizations bank in the millions a year in actual liquid funds, not to mention in-kind donations that can easily be transferred into more; are doing the bare minimum when it comes to intentional healing of the youth they service. They offer little to no trauma sensitive youth training to their staff; and success stories they crown as their own is actually done by those with boots on the ground or the youth themselves who are figuring it out. C’mon now ! There are very small organizations that are trying to offer this type of education but are tossed to the side as useless. Why are nonprofits so comfy with the status quo? Why should we care about trauma sensitive youth training?
Because first of all, most your staff is trauma sensitive youth!
Organizations target the “underserved” areas that essentially have no money so they get money to do nice things for them, duh. But then you hire the people that are in that community to service those youth, ok cool. But now you have older versions of those youth handling those youth, uh oh. Then you give them minimal coins, (because duh you’re a “nonprofit,” you don’t have money) massive or mundane work and say figure it out, stress! I would love to see us focus on healing the healer. I would love to see this become a trend. I would love to see organizations pouring into their staff to a point of overflow that will then pour into our children. I would love for the importance and the responsibility we have to truly support our youth be something celebrated more. I would love for the youth who have done the work to heal and those communities that have enhanced as a result of this type of education be highlighted. Does your staff understand context? Does your staff understand aspects of the brain that we operate from and the behaviors associated with it?
I’m going to stop asking you questions and tell you…
Start now. It’s ok, I forgive you. We forgive you. Let’s start again. Let’s be done with the old ways of distraction. Go grab the hand of those working your cause or the youth that are your cause and run directly into all the shit head first. No bouncy contraptions, no underground railroads, no planes, no trains or automobiles; just good ol me and you supporting each other through with all we need and all we have. Spend your money on intangible intellectual property sharing. Pay that speaker! Pay for that workshop! Pay that author that looks like your youth! You are going to pay for it anyway, in ways that strip the community even more if you don’. You want to make it fun, to keep your numbers, I get it but let’s also get the parents involved. How can we as community leaders, or whatever title you choose, begin to get families involved in ways that holds them accountable for what’s happening around them.
Let’s pass the baton!
To people like myself and countless others who are bringing innovative and connective experiences to trauma sensitive youth in need. People who are writing books for them, creating transformative spaces for them. Give us the resources to really make an impact on a global scale. We are given fake food on a daily, give us real experiences! COME AND SEE OUR WORK! I know, it’s a club thing but really it’s a love thing. If you really care about our youth and truly understand the level of trauma they are undergoing on minute to minute basis; reach down into yourself or your pockets and really invest in their healing. That is truly our only way out.
Here is the promo video from the book launch event! Foster YOUTH! They may have thrown all your belongings in a black garbage bag, but you're far from trash!
Here are some awesome photos captured by Kevin Arrieta of the VACO Studio